Heartland Institute Joins Coalition Telling Congress to Reject a Carbon Tax

Published February 24, 2016

The Heartland Institute today joined the American Energy Alliance and 21 other free-market and conservative groups as signatories to a letter in support of a resolution by Majority House Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) in opposition to a carbon tax. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama released a budget that included imposing a $10.25 carbon tax on every barrel of oil.

Here is an excerpt from the letter:

“We write to collectively voice our support for House Concurrent Resolution 89, expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy.

“As organizations that support free markets as a fundamental pathway to American prosperity, we oppose government policies – such as a carbon tax – that punish some and reward others in accordance with the government’s prevailing viewpoint on market ideals. Such marketplace manipulation represents a recipe for unintended consequences and self-inflicted economic damage. Too often, poor and middle class families bear the burden. …

“Our nation’s citizens expect – and deserve – their duly elected lawmakers to institute policies that move our economy forward and allow all Americans an equal opportunity to succeed. A carbon tax would fail resoundingly on both of these fronts.”

You can read the entire letter here. The following statements from energy and tax policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000.

“The Heartland Institute is very pleased to add its name to this open letter opposing a ‘carbon tax.’ The whole point of such a tax is to raise energy costs, which hurts job creation, productivity growth, low-income families (who spend a higher percentage of their budgets on energy), and folks who live outside major cities (and therefore travel longer distances to work, school, buy groceries, etc.).

“I would add that such a tax is completely unnecessary. Though advocated as a way to fight global warming, it would have little effect on carbon dioxide emissions (which are already falling in the United States) and no detectable impact on climate. This would be the case even if EPA’s and the United Nations’ climate science were reliable, which we know is not the case. More likely, there is no global warming problem to solve in the first place, in which case taxing carbon dioxide emissions is like giving a fish a bicycle.

“The national government raises and spends too much money; the American people know that, the organizations that have endorsed this letter have proven it over and over again, and anyone with eyes and ears knows that. Adopting a carbon tax would increase rather than decrease the size of government. QED: You have to be blind and dumb to endorse a carbon tax.”

Joseph Bast
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“There is never a good time for a bad policy and a carbon tax is one of the worst policies floating around Washington. Energy is the lifeblood of the economy, its use being a critical component of everything we manufacture, deliver, and produce. There is no such thing as a neutral tax. While the revenue it brings in may be neutral, its effects are not. A carbon tax would be particularly regressive because the poor spend a larger portion of their income on energy or energy-intensive products, like food, than the wealthy, and the jobs destroyed in the energy sector are high-paying and won’t transfer to other industries.”

H. Sterling Burnett
Research Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 32-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.